Saturday, September 14, 2013

Smithson 2013: First Muslin

So, when I left you all hanging last time, I had shown you the fabrics and said I had a design in mind. Today I finally got the time to get up into the sewing room and put together a muslin.
I used the same basic pattern as for the Ursula costume, but instead of the tentacles, added a somewhat-circular flounce to the bottom edge. I ended up having to make two muslins, though, as the first one was about 4" too big in the waist and I had mis-measured the flounce and it looked terrible. So, no pictures of that one. But I did get the second muslin done up and got Bob to take some pictures.
First the front view.

Now, remember that this is without any kind of foundation, lining or boning. It's just to test whether the style will work for my body. And I think it does! The only thing is that I think I took just a little bit TOO much out of the top. I'm going to add about half and inch back in to allow for the foundation and lining and for me not to look like a stuffed sausage. I'm also going to add bra cups.

The back view shows the design of the flounce a bit better.
The dress bottom edge is cut lower in the back than in the front, so the flounce isn't a circle but more like a deviled-egg shape. This took a bit of math on my part to figure out how to cut the bottom edge, but it was worth it.
While the initial dress pattern was done with PatternMaster, I did do some tweaking in Pattern Editor, and additional tweaking with pencil and scissors. The flounce was also drafted entirely by hand (very freehand, really).

Now, a few thoughts and questions.
About that flounce: does it need to be fuller? I am trying to figure out how to make it a double circle, or I could just add some netting underneath it to puff it out.
Should I raise the flounce hem in front (peek-a-boo shoe toe style) and lower it in back for a hint of a train?
What type of jacket would look best as a cover-up? Since the gala will be outdoors and the weather will likely be in the 60s, this by itself will be too chilly. I've got the fabrics for the top, but am unsure as to whether a capelet, shrug or bolero would look best. Pointers to pattern sites are most welcome!
Business has been incredibly busy, and I've got just two weeks to finish this dress, plus the cover-up, plus a vest and tie for Bob. But no pressure, right?


  1. Oh, yes, raise the hem in front so you could have peek-a-boo shoe toe style, and lower it in the back for a hint of a train, but just a hint. You don't want people stepping on it. If you do that, it'll be a like a gown you see on the runway or the Oscars.

    A bolero jacket for sure. This way your curves will still show. You're taking the time to make a form fitting gown, so why hide it under a large wrap?

    That's my $.02 worth.


  2. That shape certainly flatters you and I agree with Diane: don't hide your dress too much. I'm therefore weighing in on the side of a bolero. Sorry, I absolutely do not have any patterns for or links to patterns for a bolero. As usual, I'm looking forward to seeing the magical result at the end of it all.

  3. You dress is lovely, and yes, raise the front of the flounce and lower the back for ease of motion and great effect. I think a bolero will be an excellent choice. I made my daughter's bridesmaids' sheath gowns in a deep green velvet for a February wedding, and added matching velvet boleros lined in moire, with corded piping for an accent. They seemed to be grateful for the extra layers of fabric, and I thought it was a wonderful look for them all. Wish I had pix of them all.

  4. I agree with raising the flounce front a bit but why not do a shrug-quick and easy and sort of same as a bolero. Ask Sara for her easy pattern!!

  5. Wow - looks great!

    I also agree on raising the flounce just a bit in front. You could fishtail the back for a bit of train effect.

    IMO a shrug would be an easy coverup. A friend showed me a no-pattern one. She used about 1/3-3/8 yd of velvet burnout (60"). The selvedges will be your cuffs. Put the cut edges right sides together and sew 1/3 of the way down the seamline. Leave the middle 1/3 with no seam. Sew the last 1/3. Turn right side out. Now you have a tube with a slit in the middle. Put your arms through from the center slit toward the selvedges.

    Fiddle with this as needed. Depending on your fabric, you may need to hem the slit, or shorten the sleeves. Or change how much you leave for the slit. Or start with a wider piece and angle the arm seam to get the drapey back but a more fitted arm.

    Try it with a muslin to see what you like. You can use a half yard to get a drapey effect. Lace can work well, knits are great for a casual look. These are great for cold offices.


I would love to hear your thoughts... Please share!